“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
…how often I have longed to gather your children together…
but you were not willing.”
From time to time I find a person with many difficulties in life yet they seem to be unwilling to have their problems solved. Try as I might, they find a reason why every solution offered to solve their problems will not work. There seems to be a determination to be a failure. I am at a loss to understand why such people refuse to turn, resolve their difficulties and become joyful.
In raising children parents will find occasions when a child is determined to stay unhappy and miserable. Most parents will hear or have heard one or another of their children say, “I just want to be miserable!” These people chose depression over a solution to their issues.
Some people overcome by grief certainly need professional help. We cannot reduce all depression to a spiritual problem any more than we can say cancer is just a spiritual problem. People sometimes have brain injury, or disease that causes depression, or they may have chemical or hormonal abnormalities or simply be aging and find themselves depressed.
Our verse today is a quote of Jesus when He looked on the city of Jerusalem which would not come to Him to have life. For over 6 months Jesus had reflected on Jerusalem and how the citizens rejected Him (Luke 13:34; 19:41-44; Matthew 23:37). He knew that soon enough He must appear there for the last time and allow their rejection of Him to climax with His crucifixion.
The city of Jerusalem suffered from the difficulty of being under oppression by the Romans. It probably seemed to certain citizens of Jerusalem that they might never get out of their difficulties. Others decided that the only solution was a Messiah who would become a political leader and raise an army to put the Romans out of their beloved country.
When Jesus refused to become a military leader (John 6:14-15), the Jews became upset with Him for not meeting their expectations of what the Messiah should be. They preferred to be miserable rather than have the kind of Messiah Jesus offered them. It was not a chemical imbalance or brain injury that changed their personalities—rather they wilfully spurned Jesus and determined to look elsewhere for their leader.
The verse today is a lament or mournful statement by Jesus over the people’s unwillingness to come to Him and take Him on His terms. Jesus is never happy when people reject Him. It was His great desire then and is still His desire today, that people come to Him and accept Him on His terms. We cannot simply seek a Jesus Who will serve our needs and take away all the difficulties of life. We must accept Jesus for Who He is and submit to His plan is for us. Are you willing to submit to this gracious and loving Saviour today?